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2Karl

The best decision I made when starting out

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As some of you may know, I've only recently started observing through a half decent telescope and I've enquired about eyepiece recommendations while still being very happy with my current set up. One piece of advice that many people offered was to carefully consider which eyepieces to buy while still observing with the kit I have, which is solid advice, but left the question of how will I know which eye pieces I'll actually want?

Last night I took my scope to nearby Borough Hill where members of a local astronomy group were gathering. This was by chance the single greatest decision I have made in my astronomy "career", and that is no exaggeration.

Not only did I discover that there was a fellow astronomer just a few houses away from me (with the same hobbies and interests and even the same JOB), but I had the opportunity to try out many different scopes and eyepieces, as well as get solid advice from more experienced stargazers.

I was able to view solar prominences and sunspots; I borrowed a 3x barlow to see how it would work with my current equipment (very well it seems; I was able to clearly see Jupiter's great red spot just with my bundled eyepieces and the barlow). I was able to see an astrophotography rig in action. I was also able to observe the moon through a 200mm Maksutov (producing the loudest "wow" of the night, apparently), and I was able to try out various 2" and 1.25" eyepieces on my NexStar 130.

On top of all of that, some local families had come along for the solstice celebrations and it was tremendously uplifting to see the kids' (and adults) enthusiasm upon observing the moon and their thirst for knowledge about where the planets were, what the red spot was, whether there's life out in the universe etc. etc.

I came away with a contentment that my telescope was a superb purchase, a couple of things for my wishlist (3x barlow and a 8-24mm zoom eye piece, and possibly some filters for moon viewing) and some new friends.

My suggestion to everyone who isn't part of a local astronomy group (whether first starting out or not) is to join one or at least go along to a meet. If there isn't one near you, then form one; I discovered there was a fellow stargazer a few doors down from me, who knows how many more there are waiting to be discovered?

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You cannot beat being out with some buddies and enjoying a bit of banter whilst you observe. :thumbright:

Have fun out there. :) 

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Hey, that sounds great. I really must look into a local group and get some usage on some other scopes like you did.  Keep the posts coming about what EPs you end up getting.

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2 hours ago, 2Karl said:

My suggestion to everyone who isn't part of a local astronomy group (whether first starting out or not) is to join one or at least go along to a meet. If there isn't one near you, then form one;

Totally agree with this. Our little group is very informal, totally focused on getting out and observing (or chatting in the pub if cloudy ;)) and has steadily grown over the years to the heady heights of ten people last night :)

It is great to have company and to share the views. In fact a chap making his way home from the cricket club across the green where we were last night stopped for a chat and a look at Jupiter and the GRS. He went home happy :)

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Thats the way to do it, you are fortunate to have an active observing club nearby.

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Great post and very good advice Karl.  :thumbsup:

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Great account of observing with fellow astronomers. Always wish I could do the same. I live 5 minutes from the monthly meet of CovAstro but my work shifts have always stopped me going along. If only.😐

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That`s whats its all about, enjoyment and a small learning curve. Now your eye`s have been opened a little more the sky`s the limit. Des

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What a great post! I'm hoping to meet some like-minded people around the Bristol area for meetups away from the city lights when the Autumn arrives 😃

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Welcome Karl from land down under

I am also a committee member for over 10 years with my local astronomy club

As a club, we go into primary schools and do presentations, as well as Space Badge, Joey's, scout movement

Club meets once a month, and have formal presentations by members, and club viewing nights

Couple times a year, club also does a public viewing nights, on the foreshore, over looking the  Pacific Ocean, and also involved with local Lions Club, as a fun raiser for them International Observe The Moon, which is coming up in October

You can register your club for IOM

John

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